Dieters, Know the Kinds of Weight Gain You Get

Most people will first put on weight around their stomach, buttocks or thighs and later around their neck and face. Are these different areas of weight gain significant and what do they mean?

The Distribution of Fat in Women is Related to Estrogen Levels

Areas of weight gain in women are primarily controlled by the hormone estrogen. Before a child reaches puberty girls and boys have similar hormone levels and so will have a similar body shape, however after puberty weight gain in men and women tends to differ.

Before menopause, the estrogen levels in women will cause them to gain weight primarily in their buttocks, thighs and hips. They will not pick up much weight around their waist and so will have a lower waist-hip ratio than men. After menopause however the hormone levels change and weight will be more likely to be deposited around the stomach area.

Weight Gain in Men is Related to Testosterone

Men, on the other hand, have a higher level of testosterone than women which also influences their weight gain. Testosterone actually helps to improve fat metabolism and so men are less likely to gain weight than women. When they do gain weight this weight is distributed around their stomachs and waist because they do not have the oestrogen levels of women.

Face and Neck Weight Gain

When it comes to face and neck weight gain, this could also be linked to the hormones. If you are experiencing weight gain around your face and neck you may have Cushing’s syndrome where there is too much cortisol hormone in your adrenal glands. The face and neck may also put on weight as the whole body gains weight but will not gain weight first unless there is an underlying problem.

Geneticsand Body Shape

Apart from estrogen, testosterone and cortisol determining weight gain and where this weight is deposited, another factor that influences our body shape is genetics. It is not yet certain to what extent genetics plays a role but there definitely is some correlation. This does not mean, though, that just because your parents were overweight that you need to resign yourself to being overweight as well – you can still lose weight and keep it off, it just may be a little harder.


In general it is the different hormone levels in our bodies that determine where we will put on weight. If you are a post-menopausal woman or a man then you can expect to put more weight on your stomach and waist due to a decrease in estrogen levels. If you are a pre-menopausal woman then estrogen will generally shift the weight to your hips, thighs and buttocks. Genetics also helps to determine your body shape and therefore whether you will be more susceptible to being overweight.

Irrespective, taking matters into your own hand is important. The two pronged strategy can be an important part of helping you lose weight and keep it off.

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